In-Depth

The 2011 Redmond Readers Choice Awards

If there's one commodity that exists in massive abundance, it's hype. That's as true in the technology industry as it is in any other facet of life. Magazines, blogs, Web sites and social media constantly trumpet the next big product, idea or service.

The Redmond Readers Choice Awards (RCAs) are different. Here, you, the reader, strip away the marketing speak, can the press releases and brush off vendors' well-turned phrases in favor of the bottom line. The RCAs aren't about what's cool or hip or might be big a year or five years from now. They're about what works right now, what makes your job easier and what you use to help you navigate the daily minefield of working in IT. The RCAs are the anti-hype. They're reality, pure and simple.

Again this year, you've chosen your favorite products in a large number of categories. We've brought back our Triple Crown (three-time winners), Grand Slam (four-timers) and Five-Star Award (five-time winners) designations for products that take home honors year after year. And we've introduced new categories that branch the awards out into the popular realms of SharePoint, user-activity monitoring and Exchange hosting.

As always, though, you've done the important work here, choosing the products you like best (take a bow, Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager) and stripping away the gloss to reveal which vendors are serving your needs and the products on which you're relying.

NETWORK AND SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT
Best Network Management Product
40 products in category


Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 13.4%, Winner

SolarWinds Network Management Software, 12.4%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner

Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), 11.8%, Preferred Product

SolarWinds reclaims the title of ISV Winner in a category it lost to Cisco Systems Inc. last year. SCCM beats 2010 Preferred Product SCOM for the win.




Best Application Management Product
44 products in category


Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 20.3%, Winner, Triple Crown

Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), 14.1%, Preferred Product

Citrix XenApp, 10.8%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner

SCCM takes the Triple Crown in a category dominated by Microsoft. XenApp garners the ISV Winner title for the second consecutive year.




Best Performance Management Product
41 products in category


Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), 15.3%, Winner

SolarWinds Orion Network Performance Monitor, 13.2%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner, Grand Slam

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 11.3%, Preferred Product

SolarWinds picks up a Grand Slam by virtue of being either winner or ISV Winner in this crowded category four years in a row. The overall win goes to SCOM.




Best General Network Monitoring Tool
62 products in category


Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 11%, Winner

Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), 10.1%, Preferred Product

HP OpenView Operations for Windows, 9.4%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner

The Cisco Systems Inc. Five-Star Award reign in this category with SysLog Analyzer comes to an end, as SCCM and SCOM take the honors with HP OpenView coming in as the ISV Winner.




Best Interoperability Product
10 products in category


Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM), 51.3%, Winner, Triple Crown

McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator, 16.6%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner, Triple Crown

MKS Toolkit, 7.8%, Preferred Product

We have two Triple Crowns in one category: Microsoft, decisively, for VMM; and McAfee Inc. with a third consecutive ISV Winner for ePolicy Orchestrator.




Best Bandwidth/Traffic Monitoring Product
13 products in category


Barracuda Web Filter, 17.8%, Winner, Triple Crown

Citrix Branch Repeater, 13.2%, Preferred Product

Netwrix, 11.4%, Preferred Product

It's three in a row for Barracuda Networks Inc. in a tight category.




Best Web Usage Monitor
19 products in category


Websense Enterprise, 23.2%, Winner, Five-Star Award

SpectorSoft Spector 360, 14.9%, Preferred Product

GFIWebMonitor, 12.2%, Preferred Product

Websense Inc., now with six consecutive wins, wins another Five-Star Award as SpectorSoft Corp. makes a strong showing in its first year as a product in this category.




Best Asset Management/Resource Inventory Product
30 products in category


Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 32.8%, Winner, Triple Crown

Microsoft System Center Essentials, 10.9%, Preferred Product

ScriptLogic Desktop Authority, 8.9%, Preferred Product and ISV Winner

That's three in a row for SCCM in this category. Desktop Authority takes the ISV Winner title after just losing out on it in 2010.




Best License Management Product
14 products in category


Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 36.2%, Winner, Five-Star Award

Microsoft Systems Management Server, 19.5%, Preferred Product

ScriptLogic Desktop Authority, 11.2%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner, Triple Crown

SCCM, with six consecutive wins, continues its dominance of this category, while ScriptLogic Corp. picks up a Triple Crown for three straight ISV Winner titles.




Best Compliance Tool
49 products in category


Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 31.4%, Winner, Triple Crown

SpectorSoft 360, 7.9%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner

NetWrix Regulatory Compliance Suite, 7.0%, Preferred Product

SCCM takes a Triple Crown, and SpectorSoft 360 comes in as the ISV Winner in its first year in the competition.




Best Non-Microsoft Browser
5 products in category


Mozilla Firefox, 50.6%, Winner, Five-Star Award

Google Chrome, 37.9%, Preferred Product

Safari, 5.8%, Preferred Product

Chrome is catching up—it was at 27.8 percent last year—but Firefox, for the sixth year in a row, still rules the roost among non-Internet Explorer browsers.




Best SQL Tool
39 products in category


NetWrix SQL Server Change Reporter, 10.6%, Winner

ScriptLogic Security Explorer for SQL Server, 9.6%, Preferred Product

Quest Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise, 9.4%, Preferred Product

First-time entrant NetWrix Corp. takes a very competitive category with last year's winner, ScriptLogic Corp., just missing out on top honors.




* New Category *
Best SharePoint Product or Service
24 products in category


Quest Notes Migrator for SharePoint, 14%, Winner

Mimosa NearPoint for SharePoint, 12.4%, Preferred Product

NetWrix SharePoint Change Reporter, 12.1%, Preferred Product

Quest Notes Migrator for SharePoint takes the first title in this new and highly competitive category.




INSTALLATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Best Software Distribution Product
22 products in category


Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 32.3%, Winner, Five-Star Award

Microsoft Systems Management Server, 13.1%, Preferred Product

Flexera Software InstallShield, 10.9%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner

It's another win for SCCM—its sixth in a row in this category—and a first-time ISV Winner title for InstallShield.




Best Software Packaging Product
9 products in category


Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 42.4%, Winner, Triple Crown

Flexera Software InstallShield Admin Studio, 23.1%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner, Five-Star Award

ScriptLogic MSI Studio, 14.2%, Preferred Product

SCCM wins for the third year in a row, and InstallShield becomes a six-time consecutive winner, actually making up a few percentage points on the Microsoft product compared to 2010.




Best Drive Imaging Product
9 products in category


Symantec Ghost Suite, 31.4%, Winner, ISV Winner, Five-Star Award

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 23.2%, Preferred Product

Acronis True Image, 19%, Preferred Product

Ghost once again floats over this category with an impressive win over SCCM and another Five-Star Award, giving the Symantec Corp. product six consecutive wins. SCCM, however, did pass Acronis Inc. this year.




ADMINISTRATION
Best Overall Migration Product
27 products in category


Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 35.2%, Winner, Triple Crown

Acronis Backup & Recover Advanced Server, 7.3%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner

Acronis Migrate Easy, 6.7%, Preferred Product

Acronis Inc. snags an ISV Winner title and also manages to place a Preferred Product.




Best Server Migration Product
25 products in category


Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 27.1%, Winner, Triple Crown

VMware vMotion, 11.9%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner

Acronis Backup & Recover Advanced Server, 11.4%, Preferred Product

vMotion knocks Acronis Inc. off of its ISV Winner perch in 2011, but it's SCCM that takes another Triple Crown.




Best Group Policy Manager
23 products in category


ScriptLogic Active Administrator, 13.1%, Winner, Five-Star Award

Citrix Access Gateway, 10.5%, Preferred Product

McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator, 10.2%, Preferred Product (tie)

NetWrix Group Policy Change Reporter, 10.2%, Preferred Product (tie)

ScriptLogic Corp., with six straight wins, continues to dominate this category, although its stranglehold is slipping just a bit.




Best Disk Defragmentation and Drive Monitoring Tool
10 products in category


Diskeeper, 56.6%, Winner, Five-Star Award

Winternals Defrag Manager, 11.4%, Preferred Product

Acronis Disk Director Suite, 9.1%, Preferred Product

Diskeeper Corp., winner six times in a row, is unrelenting in its dominance of this category.




Best Remote Troubleshooting Solution
26 products in category


Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 40.4%, Winner, Triple Crown

Symantec Client Management Suite, 8.3%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner, Triple Crown

ScriptLogic Remote Support Center, 6.8%, Preferred Product

SCCM and Symantec Corp. both take home Triple Crowns in this category; the Microsoft product as Winner and Client Management Suite as ISV Winner.




Best Network Automation and Batch Processing Tool
23 products in category


Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 42.7%, Winner, Triple Crown

ScriptLogic Desktop Authority, 18.4%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner, Five-Star Award

Kaseya IT Center, 6.6%, Preferred Product

Kaseya International Ltd. sneaks in as a Preferred Product for 2011. But ScriptLogic Corp. continues its ISV dominance in trailing only SCCM in this category and takes the ISV Winner for the sixth consecutive year.




Best Scripting Tool
21 products in category


Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 19.7%, Winner

ScriptLogic Desktop Authority, 17.1%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner

Microsoft IIS Windows PowerShell Snap-in, 16.8%, Preferred Product

Desktop Authority will be up for a Triple Crown as ISV Winner in 2012, but SCCM unseats it this year at the top of the standings.




Best Patch Management Product
24 products in category


Microsoft Software Update Services, 28.1%, Winner, Five-Star Award

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 24.1 percent, Preferred Product

ScriptLogic Desktop Authority, 7.5%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner

Nothing can touch Microsoft Software Update Services, which wins for the sixth consecutive year. ScriptLogic Corp. takes the ISV category for the second year in a row.




Best Application-Conflict Testing Tool
5 products in category


ScriptLogic Desktop Authority MSI Studio, 37.4%, Winner

Flexera Software AdminStudio, 27.9%, Preferred Product

Symantec Package Studio, 18.7%, Preferred Product

ScriptLogic Corp. wins for the second year in a row as Flexera Software Inc. and Symantec Corp. swap places.




* New Category *
Best Exchange Hosting Provider
5 products in category


Rackspace, 38.7%, Winner

MessageLabs, 23%, Preferred Product

Verio, 16.9%, Preferred Product

Rackspace Inc. wins the inaugural edition of this category.




SECURITY
Best Hardware-Based Firewall Product
23 products in category


Cisco Systems PIX Series, 34%, Winner, Five-Star Award

SonicWall Pro and TZ Series, 14.5%, Preferred Product

Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall, 8.9%, Preferred Product

PIX continues to dominate a category in which the results were almost exactly the same as they were in 2010. PIX picks up its sixth consecutive win.




Best Software-Based Firewall Product
17 products in category


Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway, 23.5%, Winner

Symantec Enterprise Firewall, 15%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner, Triple Crown

Kaspersky Laboratories Anti-Hacker, 10.8%, Preferred Product

New entrant Microsoft Forefront takes the category, and three-time ISV Winner Symantec Corp. takes a Triple Crown.




Best Security Auditing Product
53 products in category


NetWrix Change Reporter Suite, 10.3%, Winner

GFI LANguard Security Event Log Monitor, 9.3%, Preferred Product

SpectorSoft Spector 360, 9%, Preferred Product

Newcomers do well in this category, with NetWrix Corp. winning and SpectorSoft Corp. placing third.




Best Intrusion-Detection System
21 products in category


Cisco Systems Secure Intrusion Detection System, 25.4%, Winner, Five-Star Award

GFI, 12%, Preferred Product

McAfee Network Security Platform, 10.9%, Preferred Product

It's another dominating, Five-Star Award performance by Cisco Systems Inc. (which racks up six consecutive wins), but the competition behind the consistent winner is starting to tighten.




Best Intrusion-Prevention System
27 products in category


Cisco Systems Okena Stormwatch, 15.1%, Winner, Five-Star Award

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 14%, Preferred Product

McAfee Host Intrusion Prevention, 10.1%, Preferred Product

Cisco Systems Inc. once again rules this category with a sixth consecutive victory, but SCCM is catching up.




Best Smart Card/Biometric/Two-Factor Authentication System
15 products in category


RSA SecureID, 35.6%, Winner, Five-Star Award

Microsoft Identity Lifecycle Manager, 23.9%, Preferred Product

Quest Defender, 6.1%, Preferred Product

RSA is unassailable in this category, winning another Five-Star Award in 2011 and six category titles in a row.




Best Secure Messaging Tool or Service (Spam and Content Filtering)
67 products in category


Microsoft/Sybari Antigen for Exchange, 11.3%, Winner

Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall, 10.6%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner

Symantec Mail Security, 5.6%, Preferred Product

It's two in a row for Microsoft here, but Barracuda Networks Inc. overtook Symantec Corp. for ISV Winner and narrowed the gap on the product from Redmond.




Best Antivirus Tool
24 products in category


Symantec Endpoint Protection, 20.5%, Winner, ISV Winner, Five-Star Award

Microsoft Security Essentials, 14.6%, Preferred Product

McAfee Total Protection, 11%, Preferred Product

A name change from Symantec Antivirus hasn't stopped Endpoint Protection from winning this category again, for this sixth year in a row. Microsoft made a strong showing, though.




Best Anti-Spyware Tool
17 products in category


McAfee Total Protection, 23%, Winner

Trend Micro Antispyware, 16.3%, Preferred Product

Webroot AntiSpyware, 10.9%, Preferred Product

McAfee Inc., winner from 2006 to 2009 in this category, avenges its loss to Webroot Software Inc. in 2010 by coming back to win in 2011. Trend Micro Inc. registers another strong performance.




* New Category *
Best User Activity Monitoring Product
10 products in category


Websense, 25%, Winner

SpectorSoft Spector 360, 20.5%, Preferred Product

Barracuda, 14.7%, Preferred Product

Websense Inc. beats out SpectorSoft Corp. to win the first edition of this category.




TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION
Best Exam Preparation Vendor
14 products in category


Microsoft, 29.5%, Winner, Grand Slam

CBT Nuggets, 9.6%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner

MeasureUp, 9.3%, Preferred Product

It's four in a row for Microsoft, while CBT Nuggets LLC narrowly knocks out 2010 ISV Winner MeasureUp LLC.




Best Online, Disk-Based or Instructor-Led Training Vendor
21 products in category


Microsoft, 25.2%, Winner, Five-Star Award

Global Knowledge, 17.9%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner, Five-Star Award

CBT Nuggets, 7.9%, Preferred Product

Microsoft and Global Knowledge Training LLC are clear winners here, each picking up a second consecutive Five-Star Award and each winning for the sixth year in a row.




Best Windows Certification-Based Boot Camp Vendor
10 products in category


Microsoft, 34.7%, Winner

Global Knowledge, 24.7%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner, Five-Star Award

The Training Camp, 5.8%, Preferred Product

Microsoft wins for the second consecutive year, but Global Knowledge Training LLC picks up a second straight Five-Star Award (and sixth consecutive ISV Winner title) with a strong showing.




STORAGE AND BACKUP
Best Backup System
46 products in category


Symantec Backup Exec, 22.5%, Winner, ISV Winner, Five-Star Award

Microsoft System Center Data

Protection Manager (DPM), 15.8%, Preferred Product

Acronis Backup and Recovery Advanced Server, 10.7%, Preferred Product

Symantec Corp. once again rules this category with another Five-Star Award for Backup Exec, giving the product six wins in a row.




Best Storage Management Product
50 products in category


Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM), 18.2%, Winner

Acronis Backup and Recovery Advanced Server, 8.9%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner

EMC ControlCenter SRM Software, 6.7%, Preferred Product (tie)

Symantec Storage Central, 6.7%, Preferred Product (tie)

Microsoft DPM is starting to run away with this category, having won two years in a row. Acronis Inc. will be up for a Triple Crown next year after landing as ISV Winner the last two years.




Best Disaster-Recovery Product or Service
60 products in category


Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM), 13%, Winner

Acronis Backup and Recovery Advanced Server, 9%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner

Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery, 9%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner

In a close race, Acronis Inc. set itself up for a run at a Triple Crown in 2012. But Symantec Backup Exec actually tied its competitor this year. DPM continued its strong performance by winning the category overall for the first time.




Best Clustering and Failover Solution
11 products in category


Microsoft Windows Server Clustering Services (WSCS), 42.5%, Winner, Five-Star Award

VMware Fault Tolerance, 23.2%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner, Triple Crown

Barracuda Load Balancer, 8.6%, Preferred Product

WSCS continues its domination of this category, as does VMware Inc. among ISVs. That's six in a row for WSCS.




Best Load-Balancing Product
16 products in category


Microsoft Windows Server Network Load Balancing, 23.4%, Winner

VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler, 18.2%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner, Triple Crown

F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager, 15.1%, Preferred Product

Windows Server Network Load Balancing steals the overall category from VMware Inc. this year, but Distributed Resource Scheduler nevertheless nets a Triple Crown with its ISV Winner title.




VIRTUALIZATION
Best Application-Virtualization Product
8 products in category


VMware ThinApp, 35%, Winner, ISV Winner, Triple Crown

Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V), 31.1%, Preferred Product

Citrix XenApp, 21.5%, Preferred Product

Microsoft is catching up, but ThinApp has managed three outright wins in a row in this category. It'll be up for a Grand Slam next year as either Winner or ISV Winner (or both).




Best Virtual Automation Product
2 products in category


Reliance Automated VM Provisioning, 63.4%, Winner, Triple Crown

Surgient Virtual Automation Platform, 36.6%, Preferred Product

In a two-product category, Reliance wins for the third year in a row.




Best Virtual Business-Continuity and Disaster-Recovery Product
15 products in category


Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM), 39.1%, Winner, Triple Crown

Veeam Backup, 11.9%, Preferred Product, ISV Winner

Acronis True Image Virtual Edition, 9.5%, Preferred Product

Acronis Inc. misses its chance at a Triple Crown as Veeam Software steals the ISV Winner spot.




Best Desktop Virtualization Product
15 products in category


Citrix XenDesktop, 51.5%, Winner, Triple Crown

Oracle Sun xVM Virtual Box, 13.7%, Preferred Product

Quest vWorkspace, 10.4%, Preferred Product

XenDesktop absolutely obliterates this category once again this year.




Best Virtual Management and Optimization Product
27 products in category


SolarWinds VM Monitor, 15%, Winner

Veeam Management Pack for VMware, 12.8%, Preferred Product

NetIQ AppManager for VMware, 10.1%, Preferred Product

It's two in a row for SolarWinds VM Monitor, but Veeam Software makes a strong showing.




Best Storage Virtualization and Management Product
16 products in category


Citrix Essentials for XenServer and Hyper-V, 36.2%, Winner, Triple Crown

Network Appliance NetApp Data ONTAP 7G, 11.2%, Preferred Product

Network Appliance NetApp V-Series Systems, 10.7%, Preferred Product

Citrix Systems Inc. continues to rule this category and picks up a Triple Crown.




Best Virtualization Training Vendor
5 companies in category


Global Knowledge, 70%, Winner, Triple Crown

NetCom, 12.7%, Preferred Product

LiveAmmo, 8%, Preferred Product

It's an easy Triple Crown for Global Knowledge Training LLC.




Best Virtual Server Product
10 products in category


Microsoft Windows Server Hyper-V, 26.1%, Winner

VMware vSphere, 25.1%,

Preferred Product, ISV Winner,

Five-Star Award

VMware ESXi, 15%, Preferred Product

Hyper-V wins for the second year in a row by a tiny margin. VMware Inc. picks up a Five-Star Award with its ISV win.




Best Virtual Server Add-Ons
14 products in category


Acronis Backup & Recovery Advanced Server Virtual Edition, 19.4%, Winner

Veeam Backup & Replication, 12.1%, Preferred Product

Veeam Monitor for VMware, 9.9%, Preferred Product

It's two wins in a row for Acronis Inc., but Veeam Software makes a strong showing.




Best Virtual PC Product
4 products in category


VMware Workstation, 57.7%, Winner, ISV Winner, Five-Star Award

Microsoft Virtual PC for Windows, 37.1%, Preferred Product

SWsoft Virtuozzo, 2.7%, Preferred Product

VMware Inc. devours this category once again, winning for the sixth year in a row.






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